Local newspaper takes first in General Excellence

Contributed photo
Tucker Henderson, Chad Koenen and Dani Koenen display three of the awards the New York Mills Dispatch, Citizen’s Advocate and Frazee-Vergas Forum received as part of the 156th annual Minnesota Newspaper Convention and Better Newspaper Contest. The NY Mills Dispatch, Frazee-Vergas Forum and Citizen’s Advocate in Henning each received either first or second place in the category of General Excellence. The awards banquet was held on Thursday night in Minneapolis. The NY Mills Dispatch received first place in the category of General Excellence. 

By Chad Koenen


The New York Mills Dispatch received 10 awards, including first place in the prestigious category of General Excellence, at the 156th annual Minnesota Newspaper Association Convention last week. Henning Publications, which operates the Citizen’s Advocate, Frazee-Vergas Forum and NY Mills Dispatch, won 21 awards as a group. 

The NY Mills Dispatch competes in the category of weekly newspapers with a circulation of up to 1,000. A total of 3,453 entries were received for the professional contest and another 206 college entries were received. 

In the category of General Excellence, which judges everything from design to news content and photography, the NY Mills Dispatch took first place for the first time in its history.

“A very fine small newspaper. Good coverage of local and regional events, interesting editorial page, excellent coverage of youth/sports,” wrote judges about the Dispatch. 

Second place went to the NY Mills Dispatch sister publication the Citizen’s Advocate in Henning and third place went to the Henderson Independent. 

“This was a strong group of small papers. We were impressed by the extensive and often insightful coverage of local events, good editorial pages, superior design/layout and use of photographs—and general excellence, to coin a phrase. These papers were at least the equal of, if not superior to, many papers in larger circulation categories. Minnesota is lucky to have them,” wrote judges about the newspapers in the General Excellence category as a whole. 

In the category of Typography and Design, the NY Mills Dispatch placed second to only the Citizen’s Advocate in Henning. The Dispatch also took second place in the category of Use of Photography as a Whole, while the Citizen’s Advocate took first in that category as well. The NY Mills Dispatch also placed second in the category of General Reporting.

The NY Mills Dispatch sports section placed third, behind just the Citizen’s Advocate in Henning who took first and the Henderson Independent.

NY Mills Publisher Chad Koenen also placed first in the category of Human Interest Story for an article entitled “War in Ukraine hits home in New York Mills.” The article detailed former NY Mills foreign exchange student Tanya Moiseenko and the beginning stages of the Russian invasion of Ukraine last year. 

Koenen also placed first in the category of sports feature story for an article he wrote about long-time basketball referee John Klinnert.

In addition to his awards for the NY Mills Dispatch, Koenen received several awards for work he completed in the Citizen’s Advocate in Henning. 

NY Mills Dispatch Reporter Tucker Henderson took second place in the category for his columns entitled “From my desk.” This is the first award Henderson has won as a member of the NY Mills Dispatch. 

Graphic artist Carly Johnson took first place in the category of Institutional Advertising for a homecoming ad she made for Farmer’s and Merchants State Bank. 

She also placed first in the category of Use of Color in Advertising for an ad she made entitled “Bank Anywhere you Are” for Farmers and Merchants State Bank.